A few weeks ago Matthew and I hiked the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs. For those who don’t know, the incline is a trail of stairs, only a mile long, but increasing in elevation 2,000 feet – straight up the side of a mountain.
It was ridiculously difficult.
The crunch of sand and gravel under my feet mingled with the heavy breathing of the surrounding hikers.
The thickness of dehydration gripped my throat and I felt slightly dizzy when I turned around to look down.
The sun glared and the rare bits of shade were a welcome respite.
The surrounding mountains loomed and took my already-limited breath away.
But the truly beautiful thing I noticed had nothing to do with the incredible scenery.
Rather, it was the camaraderie that formed between complete strangers on the trail.
Hiking side by side on a difficult path, there was no room for comparison and competition; instead we were united by a shared goal. Strangers exchanged encouraging words, urging each other onward and upward. As we neared the top and the steps got steeper, these words became more meaningful. And then finally, reaching the summit, people whooped and congratulated those they’d met along the way.
As we began the 4 mile hike down, I thought,
“Isn’t this how life should be?
We’re all just sojourners on this earth…united by a shared goal and destination. There is no room for comparison, only for mercy and uplifting words, for cheering each other on until the end.
Like life. Like a journey. Like a long road home.”